Senate and House Coronavirus Aid Packages Similar in Amounts

Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota told the Hagstrom Report this week that he thinks the Senate coronavirus aid package will be similar to the House HEROES Act. The two packages will contain similar amounts of money for agricultural assistance, but Hoeven says that the nutritional provisions will likely be up to Senate leadership. Hoeven is chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. He says USDA will start with the $14 billion that was previously allocated to the Commodity Credit Corporation but notes that Congress will push that number higher so that USDA will have as much as $35 billion in additional assistance for farmers. Hoeven thinks the HEROES Act has roughly $68 billion set aside for agriculture and nutrition and that $33 billion of that is for aid to farmers and ranchers. USDA won’t be able to use the $14 billion in CCC money until July first. However, they can now use that money to pay out the rest of the $16.5 billion promised to farmers and ranchers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The Senate bill gives the USDA the ability to make payments to ethanol plants and aid to livestock producers who had to dispose of animals they couldn’t get slaughtered.